OAKLAND — A former vehicle operations manager for the U.S. Postal Service has been sentenced in federal court in Oakland to four years and three months in prison for a scheme that bilked the government of $4.4 million.
Balvinder Singh Chadha, 45, of Union City, was sentenced on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton, who also ordered him to pay the government $4.4 million in restitution.
Chadha was formerly manager of vehicle service operations at the Postal Service center in Oakland.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Chadha admitted during a guilty plea in April to setting up, investing in and serving in effect as the director of an outside company that obtained truck leasing contracts with the operations unit he managed.
Haag said the company, called Golden Pacific Logistics Inc., received $6.4 million in contracts from the Postal Service between 2005 and 2009 and that $4.4 million of that amount was fraudulent billing for services the government never received.
Haag said Chadha admitted the company defrauded the Postal Service by billing for trucks that were never leased, mileage that was never incurred, and servicing and maintenance costs that were never authorized under its contracts.
Chadha used his position with the Postal Service to authorize payments to the company.
He pleaded guilty before Hamilton on April 4 to one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiring to violate a federal conflict-of-interest statute, which bars government employees from taking actions in which they have a personal financial interest.
Chadha's wife, Jaspinder Kaur Chadha, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and was sentenced by Hamilton on Wednesday to probation.
Chadha's lawyer, Philip Schnayerson, said in a sentencing brief that Chadha doesn't have the money to pay the restitution except for $500,000 he expects to gain from the sale of his current business, a paratransit firm that transports people with special needs.
Most of the fraudulently obtained money went to Chadha's relatives or was gambled away, the defense attorney said in the brief.
-- Bay City News Service